Listen, Dammit: down, but not out

Listen, Dammit, suffered a severe setback last weekend: Our hosting company, Byethost, suspended our account after claiming to have received a complaint of copyright violation.

Given that Byethost declined to identify the complainant, we have no way of knowing whether this is true. What is absolutely true is that Byethost refused to renable the account, because “it appears your site content nature appears to be based around copyright content.” Pointing out that the vast majority of media content on Listen, Dammit, was approved for posting by artists and/or labels didn’t help, and the company offered us a refund and a full backup of the site.

The former took place without incident. The latter did not. Not only did Byethost fail to provide a full site backup, they claim, somewhat implausibly, to no longer have the files necessary for Listen, Dammit, to reestablish itself with a different hosting company. A lengthy, byzantine back-and-forth with their monumentally unhelpful support staff proved fruitless.

Unfortunately, we weren’t wise enough to have backed up our own files. Lesson learned. After trolling through cached files on Google, we’ve recovered a significant chunk of what we had published, which will go on the new site, when it’s ready. In the meantime, Listen, Dammit, will publish here, to the extent possible.

The post that seems to have caused all this trouble was a review of Jemina Pearl’s new album, “Break it Up,” which included an mp3 of the song “After Hours.” Because we’re not about to be cowed by some anonymous douchebag with a chip on his shoulder, here is that review again. Because we’re not stupid, we removed the mp3.

Maybe it was inevitable that Be Your Own Pet break up. The Nashville garage-rockers were a volatile group from the start, thanks to the members’ young ages and the full-bore, high-impact music they played with ferocious abandon. It made for terrific, often unforgettable live performances, but how long can that sort of thing endure?

About four years, as it turns out. The group announced its dissolution in August 2008, but the individual members weren’t done making music: other projects include the bands Turbo Fruits and JEFF the Brotherhood, along with a solo career for singer Jemina Pearl.

She was the accelerant fueling the highly flammable mixture that was Be Your Own Pet. On her own, Pearl is akin to a perpetual motion machine on “Break it Up” (Ecstatic Peace/Universal), her solo debut. The record features help throughout from BYOP drummer John Eatherly, who co-wrote all the songs and played most of the instruments.

Pearl barrels through these 13 songs with savage glee, singing with menacing sweetness as she tries to get out of her own head on “After Hours,” celebrates the trashy side of her hometown on “Nashville Shores” (featuring Thurston Moore on guitar) and makes an exception for duet partner Iggy Pop on the vintage garage-pop tune “I Hate People.”

The songs here are packed full of bright buzzsaw guitars and fast, simple punk-rock drum beats with all the manic energy of Be Your Own Pet’s best tunes. The difference here is the greater emphasis on structure. Credit for that goes to producer John Agnello, who helped Pearl and Eatherly shape and tighten the tunes into lean, lacerating rockers that help ensure Jemina Pearl remains a sonic force to be reckoned with.

— Eric R. Danton

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